All posts tagged faith

God Can Go to Lunch Whenever He Wants to

lunch break sign
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Back when I graduated from college, phones still hung on the wall instead of in our pockets. My first job was as a probation officer in Clearwater, Florida.

My boss was a no-nonsense businessman. Here’s the thing — we had an hour for lunch. My boss would leave for lunch and return at his leisure. I knew him well enough to know he did not waste time, but still it made me think about how the boss can go to lunch whenever he wants — and come back when he wants because, well, he’s the boss. He does not answer to me.

How much more with the God of the universe. He spoke the world into being and sustains it with a word. As I await hurricane Florence’s arrival here in North Carolina, I think of when Jesus slept through a storm and his disciples said in Mark 4:41,

“Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (NIV)

Sometimes I question God. Don’t understand how He functions. In my puny brain, I think I can run the world better.

Stop laughing.

Really.

It’s like an ant shaking his tiny ant fist at an NFL lineman — except worse.

In Isaiah 45:5-6, Jehovah is speaking to rebellious Israel. Scripture says this:

I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting people may know there is none besides me.” (NIV)

God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and absolutely unique. He is beyond all we can imagine or comprehend.

Yet, He reached down to me and grabbed my tiny ant fist. Cradled me with His loving arms. Sent His Son, The Lord Jesus Christ to pay the penalty I deserved for my rebellious soul.

For yours.

He is The Good Shepherd, the Alpha and Omega, My Savior, My Redeemer. He is The Bread of Life, my Great High Priest, The Lamb of God, Messiah.

He is The Son of God. There is no one like Him.

And He does what He pleases.

And He was pleased to come as a baby, lead a sinless life, die a gruesome death to be raised from to life so that I could share His inheritance throughout eternity.
Check out this passage from Romans 5:6-8:

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Kind of makes you marvel, doesn’t it? That the God of the universe cares deeply about us.

Makes me want to get low and worship Him today.

How about you?

Copyright © 2018 Pauline Hylton, used with permission.

Jesus Has a Big Front Porch

Our voices echoed across mountains and dipped into valleys. Corn and beans dotted the sides of the peaks in a zig-zag pattern since they’d been planted by hand.

Savior, You can move the mountains, my God is mighty to save, He is mighty to save,

Forever, author of salvation, He rose and conquered the grave, yes, He conquered the grave.

Tom and I sat among about 35 travelers singing to our God in the setting on Honduran mountains. We’d been there for about 3 days, traveled to isolated villages to share the message of Jesus Christ, and now we shared, “Porch Time.”

That was my favorite time of the day. The team gathered together, talked about the day, shared their testimonies, prayed, and praised God with song.

So when Tom and I moved to North Carolina–a huge front porch donned the top of our must-have house list. After the construction men finished the 60 x 10 foot structure one young man said, “You should have just built the porch and left off the house.”

“That probably would have been okay with Pauline,” Tom said.

Porches carry cherished memories for me. Memories of friendship and laughter and solace–unhurried times that often feel “realer” than the rest of my busy life.

Thoughts like that ran through my mind as I studied John 14:1-2, Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. (NASB)

I grew up on King James Version where dwelling place is translated mansion. Don’t get me wrong, a mansion sounds great, but I don’t want to live in a mansion by myself. That’s lonely.

No, I want to live in God’s mansion with Him and my Savior and my brothers and sisters in Christ. I want to sit on the porch for hours (although I don’t think we’ll have hours in heaven) and talk and laugh and sing and pray.

On earth, we know our times on the porch have to end because we have other tasks and time is important…here. Not there.

Sometimes, I picture my parents sitting on the porch in heaven with their best friends, the Shiels. Jim Shiels is teasing Dad while Mom and Nellie Shiels sit together chit-chatting about this and that.

When we vacationed with the Shiels at The Salvation Army’s Camp Lake, or Army Lake, we’d sit on the screened porch lit only with the yellow bug light and talk for hours. When we’d get ready to go back home my father would say, “Let’s all join hands and sing.”

Jim would say, “Do we have to, Ramie?” And then he’d laugh and we’d join hands, sing, and then cry. This is what we sang:

Til we meet, til we meet, til we meet at Jesus feet,

God be with us, til we meet again.

I’m sure there’s was a great reunion and frankly, I can’t wait to join them. Cause I think Jesus has the biggest, bestest, porch. Ever.

But for now, I’ll settle for mine.

Come see me, friend.

I can’t paste the YouTube in here, but I’ll past the link. It’s worth the listen…BTW, we’ll be singing this on Sunday at Christ Community Church. Join us will you? Pretend it’s a porch…

 

 

 

My Bunny Slope of Faith

 

“Come on, Mrs. Hylton, you can do it!” my friend’s daughter said. I wasn’t sure. We’d joined the class together while my friend, Linda, tackled the grown-up part of the mountain.

Three hours into the ski class I’d fallen a dozen times–only when I tried to move. I was determined.

To graduate, I tackled the mini-mountain and only fell three times. Smiling from ear to ear we found Linda.

“We graduated and I made it down my first slope!”

“Great! How about we try this other slope?” She showed me a placemat-sized-map of the mountains and pointed to a slope halfway up the map. I searched the map trying to find the mini-mountain I’d conquered. I found it–a quarter  of an inch from the bottom.

That’s how I feel about my faith. I’m on the proverbial bunny-slope. The placemat-of-faith looms before me. The multiple falls mock me.

Aren’t you ever going to get this right?

Thinking myself a giant in the faith only to realize I’m a light-weight.

But, it’s a start.

I’ve been praying a three-part prayer this last year: to know God better, for Him to go with me, and to see His glory. I’m beginning to understand my faulty view of both God and me. I made myself big and God small when in truth it’s the other way around. So He’s answering my prayer, just not how I expected.

But that is exactly how He works.

And did I mention grace? I’m just beginning to grasp its meaning.

Grace is helping me conquer the bunny slopes and moving me up the mountain. And it’s all done in love without a single critical word.

Wow.

How’s your faith journey? Be encouraged, we serve a mighty, grace-giving, all-loving God.

Here’s a song I love to sing. Paste it into your browser and meditate on it today my friend.

And keep climbing.

 

 

The Life of Faith

There was a time I thought I’d write a book about faith. I came up with a catchy title and believed the words would stem from them.

Wrong, again.

I have no idea what it means to live a life of faith, much less write about it.

One of my prayers a few years ago went something like this:

“Lord, my desire is to know you more and understand Your ways. I want to live a life of faith even though I don’t understand what it’s about.”

He’s answering and I’m whining.

A friend of mine said “If you can figure out how God is going to do something, that’s not how He’s going to do it.” I may have posted this previously but it’s worth repeating.

God does whatever He wants, whenever He wants, however He wants–because He’s God. The Only One.

The comfort is in His character.

So when I can’t understand His ways, I can trust Him. Isaiah 30:15 states, “For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said, ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.’”

The verse finishes with, “But you were not willing,”

I’ve worked through that verse several times over the last few years. Anxiety rises up and sometimes overtakes me until I’m so weak I have no choice but to call out to God. And He answers.

In fact, on my knees was where He wanted me in the first place.

Weakness is strength.

So right now I’m pretty strong.

But sometimes I pack my anxiety up again and rehash it. That’s when the last part of the verse comes in.

That’s also when His character comes in.

Just like with the children of Israel and Peter the Apostle and Pauline the Rookie–He is faithful–not us.

So reader, if you’re at the edge of the Red Sea and the water is lapping at your toes, memorize Isaiah 30:15 and then with the help of the Holy Spirit, live it.

Usually, you’ll be on your knees.

It’s a good place to be.

Have you ever felt as if you were standing at the edge of the Red Sea? Mounds of water ahead of you, mountains surrounding you, and an army at your tail?

That’s how I’ve felt lately. Wet toes.

My heart is weak.

My faith is small.

I haven’t written for a while because I almost drowned in that hypothetical sea. I’ve spent the last four months calling out to God, mostly on my knees. Sometimes several times a day. The weakest I can remember in my life. Desperate for God.

Guess what. I didn’t drown. Not because I held on but because He held on.

He’s like that. Powerful. All-knowing. Full of grace and truth. Generous with it too.

I won’t bore you with the details because they aren’t important. At least for this blog. What’s important is that God is great.

He answered each time I called out either through scripture, music, a text, a person, and especially prayer. Even people who don’t believe ministered to me during this time. If you were one of those people, thanks.

I’m so thankful. And so humbled.

It occurs to me that you may be standing at the edge of your proverbial sea. And you can’t see a way through. Call out to Him. His Word says you don’t have because you don’t ask.

Sometimes we don’t ask because we think we can handle it.

Maybe you’re there. You’re standing at the Red Sea with a teaspoon, shoveling away. And you’re pleased with yourself.

Jesus said in John 15:5, “without me you can do nothing.”

I guess that’s what I’ve learned.

And I just wanted to pass it on.